ST. LOUIS — The improvements to the old courthouse in downtown St. Louis honor Black History Month. To begin officially, the historical site will have a larger focus on the history of Dred and Harriet Scott starting next week and lasting around two years.

This project is supported by the National Park Service and the Gateway Arch Park Foundation. To celebrate, people gathered at the courthouse. There were performances by Sumner High School, as well as tours of the exhibits and improvements to the Centuries Old Courthouse.

In 1847 and 1850, Dred and Harriet Scott sued for their freedom on the same grounds where slaves were auctioned off on the front steps. The ruling precipitated the civil war, which resulted in the abolition of slavery. Lynn Jackson, the great-granddaughter of Harriet and Dred Scott, attended the ceremony.

The improvements will include elevators, a new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, and renovated ceilings and flooring, in addition to exhibit galleries dedicated to the Scott family’s fight for freedom.